That spring, I was ready to drop piano lessons. I wanted free school day afternoons. I wanted to be driven far out of town in beat-up jalopies at high speeds. Put on greasy lipstick dark as bitter chocolate so that some boy would think I was at least fifteen. I wanted to dangle a lit cigarette and drink gin and gingers in roadside dives, like in the movies. I wanted the boy behind the wheel to say, “Hey, you’re cool and sassy for a girl.”
My mother didn’t fancy my growing up so fast. She said, “Give it one more summer, honey.” Meaning the piano.
I crumbled. “Okay, but that’s it.”
Read more "Piano Lessons"
I once positioned my outpost on earth –
Read more "Only This, Just In"
at the time, within earshot of owls
and a lake’s short waves –
to be the center of all communication
beaming in from everywhere, out
to all the warped, rounded corners
of this universe. I was hoping
to fool that alien sense
I imagined as native to many,
that I was actually practically cut off
from the prime gist of being alive.
Having fingers guarantees
nothing, I found out.
It was in a cave near
Sils im Engadin that
I learned this,
the unflagging dark
a rocky womb open
as a way of closing in.
I pinch at the tiny rocks
Read more "On Losing It All"
on the ground for hours,
until going backwards
She rose at 3:15 from her plastic chair,
the wooden desk carved with curses.
Her bones began to sing.
She ran home to unwed shoes,
lost socks, and blue shadows,
chores to complete until dark,
criticism swallowed like bites of tough meat.
She focused on the bright stars,
Read more "The Girl Who Wanted Soup"
the winter air, crisp as a white shirt,
today come around to telling me
and I will believe
you say you’re better in email
Read more "Say The Word"
but a word
is hollowed and lost
blazing through starry cyberfields in the night hours
constellations overflow, echoless
a dipped arrow lands nowhere, pierces no heart
the would-be elixir never encounters the throbbing soul
I was the woman going home
after a hard day.
I took the long way
across the soccer field,
no one was playing,
the clouds tasseled.
If there were still good things
in this world
I wanted to feel it in the ground
that holds me up,
catches me when I fall.
Read more "Summer Ended Long Ago"
I live in the lavender gut of a horse, a beating heart just beyond the wall. And beyond that two old ladies sip tea on a white porch in the crabapple South, hoping for something that might squirrel up out of the ground, the age-old ground, the Southern ground, the ground at the top of a hill: a thin line of angels listening all boneless and hospitable from above, managing nothing with their tiny, modest, angel hands, hands that might just as well be days of the week. The long-gone Civil War is wearing a small red-and-gold cap once worn by an organ grinder’s monkey.
Read more "A Clandesence of Angels"
Mother died. Father fled. Chaos ensued
as though I were swarmed by hornets
unloosed from a nest hidden high above.
His second marriage magnified the buzz
and stings, my hands tied behind my back.
After seventy years, there’s still a gallery full
of fierce memories. The debris of the natural
disaster that divided self-before from self-after.
I fold and refold the blanket of experience,
Read more "Collateral Damage"
unable to make the whole lie flat again.
My son winding up to hit a ball off a tee,
Read more "The Poet at 45"
I was crawling out of older motherhood
the way you back out of the tent or debark from a canoe,
careful not to disturb the sides or stand up too soon.
Adding distance between myself and the scattered contents
of a diaper bag, trailing Cheerios, wipes, fruit roll-ups,
as gingerly as my son charged ahead exuberant in a growing body,
I stepped into my office, where I’d relocated everything that was mine
and that couldn’t be lost or torn or shredded,
shut behind me the door of the room from which I’d once sought escape,
carrying the notebook downstairs to the chair, outside to the sun
Babies, ice cream cones, umbrellas, cell phones, walking sticks,
Read more "Open Carry"
Groceries, the newspaper, a fresh pizza, flowers for the one you love,
Car keys, a purse, pen and paper, a snack, reading glasses,
A book, two books, a Bible, a pair of gloves, lip balm, a lipstick,
Bicycle helmet, a hairbrush, gum and breath mints, a hand mirror,
Earbuds and a pocket watch, a penknife, nail clippers,
Camera, screwdriver, hammer and pliers, a wrench,
Flip-flops and a towel, a folding chair, a handkerchief,
Which is a very strange word when you look at it,
A Leatherman, another strange word, but we got used to it